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Norwegian employment law

Norwegian labour law generally refers to the rules and regulations governing individual and collective relationships between employers and employees. Norwegian employment law is quite employee-friendly compared to the USA and many European countries. Employers must comply with the requirements of the Working Environment Act (WEA), which is the main employment legislation. The WEA regulates matters such as employment, whistle-blowing, requirements for work environment, working hours, rights to leave, protection against discrimination, termination of employment, rights of employees in case of a transfer by undertaking and rules regarding disputes concerning termination of employment. It is not possible to waive the rules by agreement in advance, to the detriment of the employee. The WEA applies to all employees including employees in leading positions and managerial positions. To a great extent, the WEA cannot be deviated from for employees working in Norway forforeign employers. Self-employed workers are notsubject to the WEA.


Key Points

  • The Working Environment Act is mandatory, and the employee may not, in advance, renounce his or her rights as provided by the law.
  • Collective agreements are quite common, and an employer/confederation for enterprises and a trade union may, where specifically stated in the WEA, enter into collective agreements that deviate from provisions in the WEA.
  • The main rule is that an employment shall be indefinite/fixed. The opportunity to enter into temporary employment contracts is limited and rather strictly regulated.
  • The employer may only terminate the employment contract if it is objectively justified. The employer has the burden of proof regarding the grounds for termination.
  • There is no statutory right to severance pay upon terminating an employment contract. Severance pay is however quite common, and must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

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